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deserve even bigger solutions. powerful answers. verizon. the blizzard of 2013 the day after. today we are getting more perspective on the storm. in sum, it affected more than 40 million people. now there are just hours left to clean up and prepare for a new storm heading back to the northeast. hello, everyone. it is high noon in the east. 9:00 a.m. out west. i'm alex witt. the storm is blamed for ten deaths across the region, including an 11-year-old boston boy who died from carbon monoxide poisoning. he was just trying to keep warm inside a car with a blocked wind
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pipe. hundreds of abandoned cars are blocking snow plows rushing to clear the roads ahead of the work week. nbc's ron mot is there for us in boston. we begin with nbc's michelle franzen, who's live at laguardia airport. let's get to the travel problems with you, michelle. are they improving? >> reporter: they are improving, alex. this is probably one of the best days since the storm blew in here and buried areas of snow. we're at laguardia. people filing through here most of the day. a handful of cancellations here at the airport. overall, just fewer than 600 airports around the country. that is a far cry from the last few days. air travel as well as road travel frozen in time. the monster storm blizzard literally stopped vehicles in their tracks. >> snow all over the place. >> reporter: along the long island expressway and ramps, frustration and a trail of
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scattered vehicles. some remain abandoned in drifts. >> how do i get out of this mess? >> reporter: dozens of drivers had to be rescued after spending part or all night in bone-chilling temperatures. in connecticut and rhode island, phones are finally open this morning after crews plowed the 30-plus inches of snowfall. >> we had no snow for multiple years. everybody forgot how to drive in it. now that we finally get it, nobody know how to drive in it or manage it. >> reporter: crews cleared snow from the tracks, but so far amtrak is not resuming normal service between amtrak and boston. meanwhile, it could take days before air travel gets back to normal. airlines cancelled more than 5,000 flights this past week. the bulk, over 3,200, were cancelled on friday, and another 2,000 cancelled on saturday. stranded passengers waited it out as airlines tried to make up for a backlog of grounded
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flights. >> we get stuck, we're actually going to go to a hotel and just spend the night in new york again and go have fun, i guess. >> reporter: and they're going to continue to work through that backlog of flights, alex. hundreds and thousands of them, and these airports affected. the good news, laguardia says things, operations are back to normal today. they should get a pretty good jump heading into this busy week before this next storm hits us. >> sounds like a busy week. we'll take it, michelle. let's go back to boston, where limited transit service resumes this afternoon. ron mott is with us. is the city going to be ready for the rush hour tomorrow? >> reporter: they may be ready, but they're telling people to pack your patience along with the briefcases. what a beautiful start to the afternoon on sunday at the downtown garden in boston. kids are out with mom and dad enjoying all this snow. they'll be talking about this snow for quite some time because logan recorded 24.9 inches.
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that's fifth all time highest storm total at that airport. this is a significant storm event. tomorrow the nbta says that all the bus service, train service, commuter rail service will operate on a normal schedule, but people should know the times will not necessarily be what they're used to. so come extra early if your boss is a stickler about you showing up for work on time. you might want to show up at your local train stop a little earlier tomorrow. limited service is going to get under way about 2:00 today, alex. for a lot of folks who depend on public transit, this is a good thing for them because they can get out and about over the next couple three hours while we still have daylight to get some things done. and you mentioned that sad, sad tragic story about that boy in d dor chester in the boston area, that was one of many calls of people being overcome by carbon monoxide, smoke, and gases. people need to be careful. there's a lot of hazards out here. i fell down some stairs at a restaurant about an hour ago.
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i'm okay. my watch suffered a bit. there's still a lot of hazards. snow is beginning to melt off a lot of the roofs. people should be careful out here. there's still a lot of hazards. in boston, a lot of the roads downtown especially are very narrow, and there's tons of snow piled up on the sides of these streets. the commute tomorrow is going to be messy. we're expecting rain to fall down in boston, about a half inch tomorrow, so it's going to be a nasty monday for many. >> with the rain, you're right. black ice can develop. i'm with you. the last big snowstorm we had here, i fell down some stairs, and i learned my lesson. hang on to the railings for sure. >> reporter: hang on. absolutely. >> thank you very much, ron mott. stay safe. meantime, five states saw snow totals over three feet, but a new storm threatens to dump more on top of people preparing to dig out. say it ain't so, bill. >> the blizzard of 2013 is now leaving, but we still have the concerns out there. still have a lot of people that need to get their power back on. it's brutally cold.
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then we have rain coming and a storm after that. let me take you through areas of concern in new england that just received the huge blizzard. you can see it exiting there and heading up through the canadian maritime. still a huge storm. as far as the totals went, the highest in connecticut. 40 inches in hamden. many spots above two feet. all the way up coastal maine, new hampshire, and all the way down into areas of long island. as far as the temperatures go today, we're actually going to warm up. decent day, lots of sunshine. at least the roads will get a lot of snow and ice off of them as they'll be melting. tonight temperatures will drop. we'll get a refreeze and have to worry a little bit about the black ice. the next storm will be on its way monday. this will start as ice or snow and change over to rain. we are looking at the possibility of a half inch to three-quarters of an inch of rain on top of the areas that just got all this snow. the advice today, if you can get the snow off your roof, do it now. when this rain falls, the snow is going to absorb it like a sponge, and that weight is going to increase even more on all the
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structures. we're very concerned about roof collapse as we go throughout the day on monday. then our european model, which nailed this last storm, does have another storm coming off the east coast on thursday. the good news with this one, it will shoot harmlessly out to sea. our american computer model actually has it bringing more snow to the northeast. let's hope once again the european model is correct with this latest storm and takes this next threat off the coast. again, alex, the time line for the next storm on the eastern seaboard is wednesday into thursday morning. we'll have details on that as the week continues. back to you. >> bill, we appreciate that. just go to where you can monitor the next storm and track the weather in your neighborhood across the country. it's time for today's political headlines. in a new interview, house minority leader nancy pelosi made her case for president obama's plan to avoid sequestration. the major budget cuts that will go into action unless the president and congress can
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strike a deal. >> we have to look at how we get growth with jobs. that's where the revenue comes from. you don't get it by cutting education, cutting back on investments in science and national institutes of health, food safety, you name it. so it isn't as much a spending problem as much as it is priorities. that's what a budget is, setting priorities. >> one law maker who does think we have a spending problem is republican senator and tea party favorite rand paul. he made a bold statement in an interview this morning. >> the president's now caterw caterwauling about the sequester. so many are saying the sequester is a pittance. $1 trillion, and we're going to increase spending $9 trillion. even with the sequester, spending goes up $9 trillion, we're not even close to scratching the surface. >> joining me now, political columnist for "the washington
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post" dana milbank. good day to you. i heard caterwauling, haven't heard that in a while. so that was good. dana i want to begin with what you wrote on president obama's drone policy. "some of the lawmakers' reticence to press brennan had to do with the classified nature of the program. but republicans didn't cry because they favored the targeted killing program, and democrats didn't raise objections because brennan is the nominee of a democratic president." i'm not going to call you a cynic or anything here, but do you think the obama administration knows neither side will really question them on drones. so they really have no reason to answer the critics. >> alex, one woman's cynicism is another man's realism. you hang around with these guys long enough, you get a bit cynical about it. i don't want to caterwaul about this too much, to paraphrase
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rand paul. a lot of what's going on is classified. these things happen in private sessions. the public can't know xwakly what's going on here. it may be that the administration is more forthcoming about this than we know in the public. it does seem clear, if this were a different administration, say, there may be a lot more noise going on. you would expect more civil liberties objections from the democrats on this, just as they had been for the warrantless wiretapping during the bush administration. it's really surprising that both sides are so quiet about this when it's really quite a potentially alarming thing that the public doesn't know about. >> you mentioned the bush administration. lauren, "newsweek" daily beast tina brown said on bill maher the other night, george w. bush would have been impeached if he had president obama's drone program. do you think that's hyperbole or possible? >> it's unclear how far folks would have gone during the bush administration, but i think what you're seeing here is the democrats are very reticent to
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criticize a president, and usually the democrats are more critical when it comes to defense issues. it's unclear how far they would have gone, of course. >> dana, give me the behind the scenes here, the ideology, the logic, why prominent democrats don't speak out on drones. is it politically? are they just being good soldiers? is there something more to it? >> in fairness, a few of them have run wide and made noise about it. dianne feinstein made noise. a couple of them did. in fairness, susan collins, a couple of republicans did too. it's nothing like the kind of outpouring that you would expect because, in theory, this is unelected people. we don't even know who they are, making decisions of whether to kill somebody, who is suspected sometimes on fairly thin evidence of being a terrorist. even if that person is an american citizen, and according to ron white, possibly even if that person is in the united states of america. the public is on board with this
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drone program, but not necessarily with the targeting of american citizens. i suspect that this issue isn't going away. often, things like the iraq war start out very popular, and then the public begins to say, wait a second. what's going on here. i think it's dangerous for lawmakers not to be asking questions. >> lauren, i want to look at your latest piece, which deals with the divide in the gop in defense spiending. you quote lindsey graham who said, "what happened to the party of ronald reagan, who said the number one goal of government is to fund the defense. what happened to that party? i intend to get that party back." how does that sort of cold war mentality play with modern republicans that's so focused on cutting the federal deficit? >> you're definitely seeing a split. in the house of representatives, you see a lot of republicans who see the sequester as maybe their only opportunity to get spending cuts, and on the senate side, you definitely see some of those were traditional republicans like senator john mccain,
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snorkeenator kelly ayotte of ne hampshire where we can't make the defense cuts clear. there's a divide, and it's unclear exactly how they're going to bridge the gap there. >> dana, this divide, how dangerous is it for an entire party that's really trying to reinvent itself after the november loss. >> it is a pretty serious one. you see a lot of the green eye shades republicans here in washington aren't listening to the governors. the more popular officials and their party saying, look, it's important to rein in spending. that can't be the sole label for this party. when you have so many washington republicans saying the budget cut is even more important than national defense, there seems to be -- i think we're finally reaching a level where there is some push-back. and so there is a more serious division than had occurred in the past when it was all about budget cutting. >> do you think, lauren, we're going to get a final deal on sequestration, or are they going to kick the can down the road
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once again? >> i think it falls into the house of representatives. folks have said, the president already got what he wanted. he got tax increases, and we're not going to let it happen again, even if it means closing tax loopholes for bigger businesses. they don't want to see taxes increase. that's going to be the real lynchpin. in the senate, you'll see folks make some ground. senator john mccain said this morning, he's not interested in raising revenue through taxes, but he is interested in closing a few of those loopholes. i think we're seeing some ground move in the senate, but the house of representatives is really where we're going to -- it will really determine what happens with sequestration. >> in other words, tba. dana milbank and lauren fox, thank you. ahead, a summer olympics gold medalist making headlines in the dead of winter but why? and the fiscal follies. today we determine whether the next act will be kicking the can down the road once again. [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool
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some headlines making news on the west coast. first from "the daily camera" in bould boulder, colorado, the national parks service bracing for sequester cuts. from the "rapid city journal" in south dakota, land next to the legendary wounded knee burial site is up for sale. officials want to buy what they regard as sacred land, but they want the owner to come down from his $3.9 million. the owner says the price is fair. from "the denver post," missy franklin ends her high school swimming career in victorious fashion. she led her jesuit high school
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to a state title. remarking about err had accomplishment the both at home and at the olympics, franklin simply said it has been incredible. on today's "meet the press," house majority leader eric cantor weighed in on the budget cuts. >> every time you turn around, the effect is to raise taxes. he just got his tax hike on the wealthy, and you can't in this town every three months raise taxes. again, every time, that's his response. we've got a spending problem. everybody knows it. >> joining me now is newly elected republican congresswoman ann wagner, member of the financial services committee and freshman representative to gop house leadership. welcome to you. >> welcome. i'm so pleased to be here, alex, with you and your viewers. >> it's always fun to interview someone after they've been elected. i would call you a rising star, but looking at your bio, you have landed there in congress as a star already. we'll get to why in just a moment. in president obama's weekly
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address, he said fairly explicitly he wants a balanced approach, including the spending cuts, entitlement changes, and tax reforms. what we heard from leader cantor just then, is that posturing? >> no. i think it's the truth. it's not just what's coming from house leadership and the gop, it's what the american people want. we have a spending problem. here in missouri's second district, there are families and small businesses living within their means every single day. they've had to cut back. they know what these policies and what this overriding $17 trillion in debt, and the continual year after year deficit are doing, not just in the mortgaging of our own children's future and a $52,000 lug each morning that we have around their necks, but frankly, alex, we are mortgaging today. we have got to do something about this out of control spending. the president's sequestration is right around the corner here, and i think the house republicans are the only ones that have put forth some
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responsible replacements to that sequester that still reined in spending. >> to be perfectly honest, when you say you're in line with the american people, didn't the election say that americans overwhelmingly reelected president obama and dealt a pretty hard blow to the gop? and then part of what the americans elected was someone who said, we've got to raise revenue. and people agreed with it. >> with the fiscal cliff deal, the president just got a large tax increase and not just on the wealthy, but on small business owners and on the middle class. i don't think the american people voted or had any mandate to give up more of their personal wealth. what they want is to be able to make it to the 15th and 30th of every month. we want consumer spending to go up. the best way to raise revenue, alex, is to grow our economy.
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if we don't get our debt and out of control spending in check here, we will not grow this economy. >> but is it entirely fair to call it the president's sequestration? because congress is the group that passed it. >> well, the president proposed it. and the president has also, i think, frankly, shown a real void in leadership in terms of this budget and dealing with the real problems facing america. we passed as a house in a bipartisan basis, both no budget, no pay, to be sure the senate was doing their job in finally putting forth a responsible budget, and also last week they require a plan to the president saying, hey, you're late on your budget, four years out of five. we want to know how and when you get to a balanced budget, mr. president. and i think that's what i'm hearing the people in the second district talk about. >> i would imagine you're also hearing people in the second district there in missouri that they want something done that's concrete. i think everybody -- and i would suggest even congress -- is
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tired of kicking the can down the road. there's so many issues facing this country. do you think there's a chance we're going to get a deal reached before the deadline and have it be a final deal? >> i hope so. it shouldn't be a last-minute deal. it should be a deal with great debate and great thoughtfulness. we've been having this debate for some time. i'm a part of this freshman class, the 113th congress. we were sent here, alex, to do the big things. we want to be about solutions and getting things done. people are tired and frustrated with this paralysis and the lack of leadership that the president, i believe, has shown, and frankly, the fact that the united states senate and the democrats in the senate have not come to the table to deal with our fiscal crisis. enough is enough. we're fed up, and i'm hopeful, though, i really am hopeful, we're going to have solutions, and we'll be able to come together on behalf of the american public. >> well, there is a new body there. you are part of this new freshman class.
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there will be new voices being hea heard, yours certainly. the self-created crisis, is this any way to run washington? have you come to congress because you want to change things up and get things done? >> absolutely. we're a class of do-ers. it's a wonderful eclectic group that forms the people's house, and they're farmers and men and women and moms and dads and small business leaders, people involved in the military. it's a great class of, i think, real doers. we've been sent here to tackle the big things. the biggest thing on our plate right now is this out of control spending, this propensity to do nothing but make government the center of all things. we have to empower people and families and individuals. that's what we need to do. we need to care about the hard working middle class, whether the it the carpenters, the nurses, the teachers. as i said, the people trying to make it to the 15th and 30th day of the month. how do we make their lives
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better and easier? >> paycheck to paycheck. >> right. >> but there seems to be a lack of diplomacy or the use of that on capitol hill. >> moving faster to luxembourg. you obviously had to use diplomacy skills to get things done and deal with any issues that might arise. is there a chance at that diplomacy will be employed between our democratic and republican lawmakers? and that the art of compromise will be found again? >> i do think we're going to come together to find solutions. a lot of it has to do with building relationships, talking to one another, and i'm very proud of what we did very quickly out of the house, the u.s. house, which was no budget, no pay. that had over 80 democrats sign on to that piece of legislation. i think it was a great bipartisan showing, and i think it's a way that we should move forward. i'm hopeful we're going to have solutions, but i'm also hoping we desperately are going to have the kind of leadership from the
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white house that's going to talk about growing our economy, talk about jobs, talk about helping the middle class that does not raise our taxes and take more of their wealth and grow government. we don't need to grow government. we need to grow our economy for hard working families. >> missouri representative ann wagner, it was nice to see you and meet you on the air. good luck with everything. we'll be watching. >> i look forward to it, alex. thank you. straight ahead, a new twist in the search for an ex-cop on the run. rs. how? by building custom security solutions that integrate video, access control, fire and intrusion protection. all backed up with world-class monitoring centers, thousands of qualified technicians, and a personal passion to help protect your business. when your business is optimized like that, there's no stopping you. we are tyco integrated security. and we are sharper.
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citracal slow release continuously releases calcium plus d with efficient absorption in one daily dose. citracal slow release. in light of the northeast blizzard, a list of the snowiest locations in the nation. number five, lead, south dakota, with 200 feet of annual snowfall. truckee, with 203 feet. hancock, michigan, 212. crested butte, colorado, with 216. and last, valdez, alaska, with
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326 feet of annual snowfall. far and away the leaders of hottest cities, phoenix, arizona, where the temperature hits 100 degrees or more ten days a year. las vegas with 70. and justin bieber, the youngest artist to have five number one albums. those are today's number ones. ♪ whoooo! you're crazy. go faster! go faster! go faster! go faster! no! stop...stop... (mom) i raised my son to be careful... hi, sweetie. hi, mom. (mom) but just to be safe... i got a subaru.
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but i'm still stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels speeds relief to your worst cold symptoms plus has a decongestant for your stuffy nose. thanks. that's the cold truth! welcome back. it's time for headlines at the half hour. the man hunt for chris dorner, the former lapd officer accus accusedaccused of a killing spree.
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meanwhile, frantic searches in california have not produced any new leads. in new orleans, police released video of the gunman wanted for opening fire on a crowded bourbon street just days before fat tuesday. four people were injured. despite the shooting, crowds remained strong throughout the night. a rep for r&b singer chris brown says the paparazzi caused him to crash his car last night after being ruthlessly pursued. the efforts to dig out before the work week are under way in the northeast. a portion of new york long island's expressway has been closed until 5:00 p.m. so crews can remove hundreds of aban not doed cars and plow the runway. mike goodloe is live in jefferson, new york. still looks pretty snowy. you think people can get out on the roads for work tomorrow? >> reporter: it depends. it's not just the l.i.e. where you have abandoned cars. it's the side roads and
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roadways. driving in from manhattan, there were dozens and dozens of cars throughout the way abandoned. i'm here in port jefferson. they picked up 25 inches of snow. i've got my measuring stick, and that's only 22 inches. now because the snow has been blowing and drifting, i'm going to attempt to walk out here. you talk about will people be able to get to work and dig out their cars, they've got to dig through very heavy and hard snow now. measured here, now it's about 26 inches. and i'm trying still to get to this car, and then imagine once you get there, you've got to dig that out. you can see one of the plows out here to plow this area. it is more and more difficult to get here. here's the thing. that was 25, 26 inches of snow i walked through. let's measure the bumper of this car. that's about 12 inches off the ground. so unless all this is plowed out of here, there's no way, even if you dig this car out, it can get out of here. this is a giant parking lot.
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imagine this scene in people's driveways. hundreds and then thousands that keep multiplying. this part of eastern long island, it will be very difficult to get out of here by car, if your car has been stuck out in the snow like this. even walking through here, you can hear i'm winded here. >> i was going to say "a" for effort, paul, good grief. if you think about it, unless you can let your car sit there and it's in a place where it's not going to be hazardous to clearing the roads and let the sun sort of take effect and melt things, wow, people all over the place repeating this. it's a herculean effort to get it done. yeah. >> reporter: the good news is the governor has brought more equipment into long island. i think 500 extra pieces of equipment to do this, to help clear the snow out. as you can see the plow behind me doing that such thing right here in this parking lot. but it's going to take a while to clean up from this, and we have more rain on the way. the big concern with that is people's rooms now are in danger
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because they have a couple of feet of snow on top of it. right on top of that, the weight could potentially do some damage. i heard at least two homes have had ps claed roofs here in long island because of the weight of that snow. >> we are nowhere near out of the woods yet. thank you very much, paul goodloe. go sit down and rest. right now over 360,000 customers are without power mostly in massachusetts. over 500 flights cancelled again today, most of those from boston's logan airport. and a look at the staggering snow totals hammering connecticut. look at that topping the list with 40 inches of snow. boeing's troubled 787 dreamliner has returned to the sky since being grounded three weeks ago. yesterday's test flight in seattle logged more than 1,100 miles to assess the performance of the on board lithium batteries. it's the same kind which have recently overheated and caused two fires. one incident in japan resulted in an emergency landing. in today's office politics, my conversation with congressional medal of honor
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recipient colonel jack jacobs. we discussed the devastating effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on u.s. troops after being battle in iraq and afghanistan, and the difference between fighting in vietnam like he did and fighting wars today. first i asked the colonel about the use of drones in the fight against terrorism? >> it's extremely successful if the infrastructure of the taliban and al qaeda, but by identifying the enemy on the ground through various means of gathering intelligence. the goal of the establishment is to destroy people and property. if you want stuff blown up and people killed, we're the guys to talk to. if you want political objectives achieved, the military establishment are not the people to turn to. to the extent of destroy enemy
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troops, we've identified. destroy enemy training camps and so on, using the drones, great. bomb them? sure, you bet. if what we're trying to achieve is stable government in afghanistan who has control of the majority of the area, we're not going to do that. military people are not the people to do that. do we use the economic instrument of power adequately? no. do we use the diplomatic instrument of power adequately? no. do we integrate all three of these -- military, economic, and diplomatic -- in a seamless fabric of the use of american power worldwide to achieve specific objectives and goals in various places around the world? no, we don't do that. we're terrible at that. we're terrible at the economic instrument, at the use of the diplomatic instrument, and at weaving all three of them. we don't have policy actually. we have short-term objectives, and that's why most of the time, if it seems like we're turning
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to the military instrument of power to achieve those objectives, it's objectives because the long-term guys don't know what they're doing. >> what about ptsd? is it worse now than in past wars? if so, why? >> i'm not a fan of single factor analysis. i think there are lots of reasons why it seems like and we do have more post-traumatic stress. one of them is that we're paying more attention to it. now people are encouraged to bring it to the attention of the chain of command or people close to them, if they're out to the va, they have lots of people who can help treat it. we're paying more attention to it. i'll tell you something else. the nature of why -- how we fight wars now is very much different. the enemy all the time, while you were scared, really actually felt like, if we're going to get out of this alive.
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partially attributed to you. you could affect your future by how fast you reloaded and how many bad guys you shot and whether you maneuvered properly, all that. as scared as you were, you thought that what you did could actually have an impact on whether or not you survived and whether or not your friends survived. not so anymore. the large majority of our casualties, killed and wounded, by improvised explosive devices. >> so what? you're a truck, you're driving along. >> you were fighting in a place that there was a field. there was an area. there was a combat zone. people in iraq and afghanistan, they're fighting in neighborhoods. they're fighting in homes, down a residential street. >> it's extremely difficult to do. the most difficult fighting is in built-up areas. we had to train extensively for that. we didn't have any experience in
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doing that until the tet offensive. most of the times we were fighting out in the fields. but we still were fighting and had an idea we could affect the outcome. if you're just driving down the road and you have no -- your perception is that whether you live or die is totally outside your control, there's a lot of -- there's unresolved fear in that. >> in one hour, colonel jacobs discusses the troop pullout in afghanistan, the role of women in combat, and why he and nbc's brian williams have a running gag on who is the better public speaker. next up, what's at stake for the president and the nation in tuesday's state of the union speech? ore tweets. so, beginning today, my son brock and his whole team will be our new senior social media strategists. any questions? since we make radiator valves wouldn't it be better if we just let fedex help us to expand to new markets? hmm gotta admit that's better than a few "likes."
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on tuesday night, president obama will deliver his fourth state of the union address. white house officials tell us the speech will largely focus on the middle class. the big question remains, if the fiercely liberal president to
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emerge in the inaugural address, will make a second showing. joining me now is james peterson, director of afrikaner studies at lehigh university and historian at rice university. hi, guys. good to see you both. james, do you expect to hear the kind of liberal pronouncements we got in the inaugural address? >> i don't think liberals think the inaugural address was liberal? we kind of believed that on issues such as immigration and climate change, equity for women and people of color in this country, those are common sense, american issues. yes, i do think the president will be addressing some of these issues in the state of the union, and i think he's going to -- the strategy, at least according to the white house, is he's going to tie these things to the economy. comprehensive immigration reform has economic benefits, moving towards a green economy, wrestling with climate change, these things all have economic
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impact, and i think those are the connections the president will be trying to make. >> james, the focus on the middle class, what do you want to hear there? >> one, i'd like to hear him focus on poor folk, and i'd like to hear him explain how the sequester directly impacts the safety net and the security and other concerns for the poorest people in this country. of course, we don't want to burden the middle class any more than it has been in terms of recovering from the economic downturn of the last administration. i would love to see the president reach beyond the middle class and speak specifically to the issues of the poorest folk in this country. >> one of the big headlines out of the inaugural as the president's mention of gay marriage rights. do you expect any policy announcements on that? >> i don't know that it might be mentioned, but i'm doubtful. this is going to be a valentine to the middle class. he is going to be the great defender of the people, whether it's policemen or teachers or firemen, electricians, people that are working for a living that are struggle because what's been elusive in the obama years is how to bring that unemployment number further
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downwards towards 5%, say. so it's going to be jobs, jobs, jobs. but they will be a part and parcel as professor patterson said, about the injustice in the economy, but it's all about the downtrodden middle class in the end. >> there's a really good piece in "the washington post" but john sullivan that argues this is president obama's most important state of the union address. 2014 tempered by the midterms. 2015, his power nearly over. 2016 really a farewell speech. what do you think of that assessment? >> i don't categorically accept this short-term look at the president's ability to have impact on this nation. i think there will be issues that will determine and shape how those state of the unions and how they function and whether or not they'll have certain impacts. it depends on what happens in this country over the next several years as to whether or not those state of the union
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addresses can have a certain kind of impact. remember that last one is going to be about legacy. i wouldn't undermine or think little of what that could be once we get to that particular point. >> on the heels of that, douglas, how do second term state of the union addresses typically differ from first term ones? >> the state of the union is supposed to be what the state of the country is. i would imagine barack obama is going to want to talk about the progress that's been made since he gave his first one, how we've gotten out of iraq, how we've been vigilant on the war on terrorism. i think it's always a crowd pleaser to mention the troops. president obama isn't just talking to a joint session of congress. ever since the advent of television and harry truman's administrati administration, they're using it to talk to the american people in primetime, and he's got to sell his economic program to the american people, and that's what the speech is all about.
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it's always been about that since the advent of tv. >> are there state of the union addresses that go down in history for you, douglas? if so, give me the top one or two. >> james monroe, 1923, the monroe doctrine. you have the great one of fdr in january of 1941, the four free many dos. you have in '64, lyndon johnson announcing his war on poverty. all that great society domestic legislation. and then, of course, george w. bush in 2002 when he had the axis of evil speech against north korea, iran, and iraq. >> james, how about you? how do you rate actually the president's state of the union speeches thus far? look at the last four. >> when you look at the last couple, where he's really thinking about the wind down of the iraq war and honoring veterans, you can see some of the things that you'll see on tuesday because he's also talking about the economy and immigration and that one. if you go back to 2011 and look at how he tried to use the moment around the gabby giffords
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tragedy to talk about public and private compromise, democratic compromise. you'll see the themes on tuesday that will pick up on themes from his earlier ones. it's sprg to see how he'll frame it. gabby giffords framed one. end of the iraq war framed one. what exactly is going to frame this speech on tuesday is a good question to consider. >> dugdouglas, can i ask you, i this typically his third state of the union and not the fourth? is the first speech addressing a joint session of congress? >> i think i consider it a state of the union any time after you come in. i just mentioned lyndon johnson in '64, he hadn't been elected when he gave the war on poverty one, and it's considered one of the great state of the union addresses. this is an important speech for the president. i think newtown might be a theme that's re-brought up again. he mentioned it the at the inaugural, and i think gun control is going to be a major part of his plank.
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>> for what it's worth, i would sure love to see that myself. james patterson, douglas brinkley, thank you so much. the president's state of the union address begins tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. with the speech beginning at 9:00 p.m. eastern. coming up, they survive in the streets by collecting cans one trash bin at a time. [ male announcer ] no matter what city
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a new documentary titled "redemption" looks into canning, redeeming bottles and cans for their recycle value. it happens in one of the biggest cities in the world, here in new york. >> you do it what you have to do to survive. if you have no income, this is what you do. >> there are more people here than ever before. they're all over the place. everybody is down on their luck, just about. >> you can't take everything. it's not yours, you hear me?
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>> with me now, john alpert and matthew o'neal, producers of "redemption." it's received an oscar nod for documentary short. big congratulations to both of you. very, very exciting for all of you. this is very fascinating because we've all seen this on the streets, particularly those of us who live in new york city. take us inside this world, john. >> it's a world we pass by but never talk to the people doing it. it's a growing army every sipping l day. as the jobs disappear from new york city, people have to survive. they're going through the garbage. it's 5 cents for each can and bottle. >> i know hbo documentary producer sheila evans was getting out for work and seeing these people and thinking, wow, what hard work they're doing. they're not homeless people, are they? >> these are people working hard and struggling to survive. president obama talking about the middle class. these are the working poor,
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people below the middle class that nobody is talking about. they're marginalized, they're struggling to survive, and they want to work. lily, susan, they work as hard as you and me. they're out canning 20 hours a day trying to make a life for themselves. we saw that woman, wait, that's not yours. you can't take it. even though it's discarded refuse at that point. these people have to live with a lot on the streets and the poll tigs of turning in their cans. >> sometimes it's harder to redeem than it is to collect. they spend more time putting cans in the machine. now it's developed there are more canners than there are cans. it's become combative. too many unemployed people. >> when they put the cans in the machines, at the grocery store, people are like, oh, wow, if they bring a whole lot of them, people look down on them. >> if i was running a drug store, i would think you would come to buy a tube of toothpaste than someone come in with a bunch of cans like this. >> do you find overall this movie as a reflection with the
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overall troubles with the american economy? is this just one symptom of it? >> we've been making this documentary for about 2 1/2 years, and i would say from the day we started until now, there's probably twice as many canners out on the street in new york. it's something that all the people collecting cans talk about. every day there's more and more people who don't have any opportunity. it's a real problem. it's a problem here in new york. we were out in your hometown in l.a., a couple of weeks ago. come out of a nice beautiful academy screening, and a man walking down the street with a big cartful of cans. >> as if on cue, wow. >> reporters, it's almost a cliche, when we're in a third world country, we head to the dump. that's where we see the contrast between rich and poor and the inequities of society. i never thought i'd see it in my own hometown. >> it's pretty remarkable, isn't it? what's the takeaway message, matt? when people see this, is it just to make awareness of what's going on? is it to have empathey or tr eyo
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do something? >> two things. one is pay attention to your neighbors. people walk right on by and never make eye contact, never connect with the men and women surviving on the street, and they're both like you and me. 50% of new york families are living paycheck to paycheck. that means that 50% of our friends and neighbors are two weeks away from collecting bottles and cans. >> it is a sobering concept. i'm really excited to see this. good luck at the academy awards. i'll be home cheering for you. i'd love to go if you have an extra ticket. just saying. coming up next hour, a warning about the so-called u.s. debt time bomb while congress takes lots of time off. the wing and a fractured beak. surgery was successful, but he will be in a cast until it is fully healed, possibly several months. so, if the duck isn't able to work, how will he pay for his living expenses? aflac. like his rent and car payments? aflac. what about gas and groceries? aflac. cell phone?
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there today to try to clear that area. many cars, hundreds have been stranded in the areas there on long island. many of them, dozens and dozens, on the long island expressway. you know what happens tomorrow morning, all of those roadways filled with capacity with people trying to get to work. they're trying to get things all set up so they may do so without a lot of headaches in the morning tomorrow. welcome to weekends with alex witt. 1:00 here in the east. 10:00 a.m. out west. here's what's happening. we have the aftermath of the huge blizzard in the northeast. we have the cleanup, the travel nightmare to talk about. brand new video from the skies over long island, and the crews rushing to remove the stranded cars, clear the roadways ahead of the start of the work week. the storm is blamed for ten deaths across the region, including an 11-year-old boston boy, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning. he was just trying to keep warm in a car with a snow clogged exhaust pipe. more than 360,000 people without power today, most of those in
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massachusetts. let's go to boston and weather channel meteorologist eric fisher. eric, how much of the community is able to get back to normal today? >> it's a slow, slow process, alex, no question. however, with the nice fresh snow the kids have been enjoying this weekend, they get another day to enjoy the snow. boston public schools closed during the day tomorrow. too many clogged roads and too much of an issue to get everyone to school safely. they get another snow day. that's two this year. they didn't get any last year. i'm sure some of the kids are smiling in beantown. notice the type of snow. it's bringing everyone out. this is as light and fluffy as you can get. this is the type of stuff. sledders have been enjoying in the park. beautiful scene for real. you take a look at the travel conditions, logan had over 90 flights cancelled today. they're still working through a
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backlog. a lot of the side streets, even though the main roads are in good shape, are a disaster. they're still buried. and that's why they cancelled school during the day tomorrow. the winds are calm. the power crews are out. those numbers are starting to go down out toward the cape. that's where the most work needs to be done. and telling us it might be a couple of days for the hardest hit areas, but they're hoping to get more people back up and running by tomorrow morning. >> oh, my goodness. if jason can put this picture back up. it's an aerial shot of the cars buried in a parking lot by logan or something. that's incredible. what a mess that's going to be just to clean those up. where is that? do you know? >> reporter: it's not even just the open parking lots, but i saw a couple of garages that we parked in, and the snow has blown into the covered garages. i don't even know how you get snow out of those. >> it's a mess in massachusetts. thanks for bringing us the latest.
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appreciate it. let's go down to connecticut where the president signed an emergency dlirgeclaration. ron allen is down there live for us. how long will this take? >> reporter: it basically means more money for people in connecticut and towns to get rid of the snow. the problem is there's so much snow around, it may sound simplistic, but really. you can see there are cars moving, but they're traveling through very narrow passageways. over there behind me, you can see the plows trying to clear off the sidewalk. that gives you an idea what it's like in smaller towns are secondary roads, where there are several feet of snow. cars are paralyzed in their driveways. we were in one town where the people got tired of waiting for the snow plow to arrive. so they were doing it themselves with plows and shovels to try to get out of their homes and get back to some sense of normal. here the international airport opened this morning. flights are getting back. i imagine there's a lot of cancellations.
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haven't heard officially about schools generally, but some reports that towns have already cancelled schools. i would think that would happen just about everywhere. while the governor has lifted the travel ban, most local officials urging people to stay in their homes because the roads are too dangerous. there's still on and off ramps that are blocked coming off the highways, and once you get into local communities, it's very tough going in most places. alex? >> how long have the plows been out in this area? getting all the cars out of the way, that's going to be the biggest problem, it seems. >> reporter: there's still a lot of abandoned cars blocking roads and can bloing highway on and off ramps stuck in parking lots. i think there was a number of about 3,000 or so calls to the state police during the last couple of days for help. a lot of that was stranded motorists at the height of the storm. of course, they just left their cars where they were. they're trying to get the backlog done.
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yes, the problem here is, again, just a lot of snow everywhere. hartford is atypical. we're right downtown. there's traffic. there's a boat he going somewhere. i don't think that's going to help them get out of the marina that's frozen. but in smaller communities, people can't even get out of their homes or get their vehicles moving because there's such a big pile-up of snow. 40 inches in a town called hamden south of here. it's going to be a while. some towns are warning it could take several, many days before things are back to normnormal. yesterday the governor says ten days with good weather before things are back to quote, unquote, normal. >> and not even going to mention the rain. cold rain they say. ron allen, thank you so much. >> reporter: it could be helpful with the rain. temperatures above 32, starts washing things away. temperatures supposed to be in the 40s by tuesday and wednesday. rain, warm weather -- that's the
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best thing that can happen in this place. >> as long as it doesn't get too cold in the overnight. it could refreeze. but ron allen, you make a good point. 570 flights cancelled today. most of those from boston's logan airport. connecticut's bradley international airport reopened today with just 21 delays. go to, where you can monitor the next storm and even track the weather in your neighborhood. just two days to go until the president's state of the union address. in an interview this morning, deputy obama campaign manager stephanie cutter gave a preview of what we can expect from the commander in chief. >> the economy will be central to this speech, how we can grow the economy, everybody participate, pay your fair share. other things he does lay out. he'll lay out the looming deadline on the success ter, the tough choices we have to make around it, and the consequences if we let the sequester go into effect. >> injoing me now with more nbc
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news white house correspondent peter alexander. is this speech going to be all about the economy? >> reporter: i think it's going to be heavily focused on the economy, as you heard from stephanie cutter just a few minutes ago. these are familiar themes. the white house says they are pivoting back to the economy. this has been a central focus of this administration from day one. it's very clear after the inaugural from last month, when the president focused on social issues, certainly that got a lot of the headlines, they want to make it very clear their priority is the american people's priority, which is focusing on jobs and the economy. when it comes to issues like gun control and immigration and climate change, those, white house senior administration officials tell us, will be focused in that same context of the economy. when it comes to gun control, they'll refer to the issue of safe schools and the need for better education in america. the issue of a legal labor force, when talking about immigration, the need to draw some of the best talent around the world here to the u.s. to
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help create more jobs in the country. and finally on the issue of climate change, the values of clean technology, clean energy technologies to help in this country as well. you also heard, stephanie note the sequester. while these are the big issues the president wants to talk about, wants to focus on over the course of the next four years, less than three weeks until the sequester is left to hit. that could deal a huge blow to the nation's economy. both sides seem to agree to the blow it could have to the economy where right now there's no compromise in terms of how to deal with it. >> peter, thank you very much for the update from the white house. and msnbc's coverage of the state of the union address on tuesday, it begins at 8:00 eastern. we'll have the speech, of course, beginning at 9:00 eastern. and what do you want to hear from president obama in his state of the union speech on tuesday? we'll hear some of your tweets. miky t. plays, to clean up
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corrupt government. "how he'll address the crisis of our time, which is spending and debt. will he get serious? i hope so." "i want president obama to talk about preserving the environment and the wide gap between the rich and poor." and sammy tweets "the truth." msnbc is doing something fun. we're asking you to complete the president's statement from the annual address. the state of the union is -- and i respond, as you can see there, write big, "inspiring as ever." you can respond by sending a photo like mine to or on twitter or insta gram. use the #sotuis, which is sotu is. coming up, the president's drone policy under fire. hings. but there are some things i've never seen before. this ge jet engine can understand 5,000 data samples per second.
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in today's strategy talk, the drone debate on today's "meet the press." dick durbin weighed in on president obama's controversial drone program. >> the constitution says the american people will decide whether we go to war. the american people through congress will vote on this. the question is, when it comes to drones, these remote strikes, or cyber security, are we at war? is this an act of war? we're going to get into this constitutional question. >> do you believe we're at war still? >> we're in a different kind of war. >> joining me now is chip saltsman, republican strategist and former campaign manager for mike huckabee's presidential bid. and marjorie clifton, a former campaign consultant for president obama. welcome to both of you. >> thank you. >> chip, we have senator durbin saying that congress is going to get into the constitutional questions, but if republicans aren't coming out against drones and neither are the majority of
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democrats, does it ever really happen? >> you know, the few things they can agree on, we should celebrate. this issue is so very serious in the sense that, when you talk about these kinds of strikes, these drone strikes, you never hear about it in the public because it is really in the shadows. these are usually issues talked about in the house intelligence committee or the senate intelligence committee not open to the public. republicans tend to think this is a commander in chief responsibility with oversight with the house intelligence committee, and they tend not to get too much involved in this because there can only be one commander in chief at the time. >> wait a second, chip. you said it's something they can agree on. do you really think they can agree on the ideology here? or do you think because republicans, they approve of the program in general, and democrats don't want to come up against the president, who they feel may have the right to put certain policies in place? really? are they agreeing ideologically? >> i don't think they agree philosophically, but i think
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they agree with this because the democrats do have the commander in chief in this now. when the republicans have the commander in chief, the democrats wail on this issue as loudly as they can every day. some are being hypocritical keeping it back and saying we're not going to criticize president obama because he's making tough decisions. we'll replay that in a couple of years when we have a republican president. >> marjorie, does it being a different type of war, does that justify drone strikes, even on americans? >> i think this is an entirely new conversation we're having to have. as a navy s.e.a.l. i was just having brunch with was pointing out, these are remotely piloted vehicles, drones. this is not a james cameron movie. we've got a fascination in the public with the idea of drones. i think james is right, with he agree it's a very powerful tool. it allows us to get intelligence in ways we haven't. and the idea is can it be used
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to protect ourselves against imminent threats? what does imminent mean? is it wartime? is it immediate threat? we give them the power to make a game time decision of whether to kill someone. these are people's lives we're talking about. the question is do we allow the military and the intelligencent ic -- entities to actually make that game time decision? or is this something we need to bring to congress and have oversight on before we make that immediate strike? >> so should we? >> i think that's what's trying to be hopefully debated is are there specific circumstances where absolutely, you make a game time decision, versus ones that need to go back and be thoughtfully thought out. right now torbgs do , to do an we have to put a team of or military personnel on the ground to strike a target. this would be literally a secondary decision. there are times when that person or that threat could be an immediate one, an eminent
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question is what they're trying to define. what does eminent mean? >> let's look at hindsight as was done on bill maher's show. here's what would have happened. democrats would have been a lot tougher on george bush, even calling for his impeachment over something similar. do you agree? >> there's no question. as we're learning about the different types of war fare, this is a different type of war in a different type of time. we're learning more on a different time scale. 15, 20 years ago, there were no drone strikes. 10 years ago, there were no drone strikes. this is uniquely for president obama and president bush, the only two presidents that have had to deal with this. we have to believe in our commander in chief and our military. that's the question being discussed. do we believe in them to give them the realtime decisions? you can't run these operations by committee. we've got to target imminent danger, but we've got to check back with a committee back home. you have to depend on your
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military to make those decisions in realtime. >> a new york times article says you touch it, you don't own it policy on syria. the same can be said about his drone policy. as long as there aren't boots on the ground, it's your war. that's the quote there. is there sort of an iraq hangover here? is that why it gets democratic support? >> you've got john brennan as the appointee. and brennan's policies on the drones is one of give us control. i think that's why democrats are sort of hesitating about do we criticize? do we look at oversight? what the drones allow us to do is have boots on the ground in places we didn't before. it allows us to have autonomy with the u.s. intelligence gs agencies, and democrats are hesitating to bring it to the table. but with congress and our inability to find compromise, it's a new day, and we need to
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redefine. again, defining imminent. dana milbank also wrote a very interesting article about this and said trust me is probably not enough. >> i'm looking at the article right here. you picked up on it. "trust me is not enough on drone war fare" specifically is the title. is this the perfect defense policy for republicans? it's strong on terror but relatively low cost in this time of massive deficits? >> i think it's another tool in the tool box for our military. i think it's interesting what you talk about. president obama does sell this to the democrats is this allows us not to have boots on the ground. from a republican point of view, it's an issue we can use, be safe, keep up with what's going on, and not as expensive as other programs. >> the only thing that i'm cautious about is i almost look at it as working a video game, and there's something redifferent in being able to remotely kill someone than have to actually put a person in front of you.
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that's something we have to be cautious of. >> marjorie clifton, chip saltzman, thank you. still ahead, the hunt for a rogue ex-cop is intensifies. did you know not all fiber is the same? citrucel is different- it's the only fiber for regularity that won't cause excess gas. it's gentle and clinically proven to help restore and maintain regularity. look for citrucel today. i honestly loved smoking, and i honestly didn't think i would ever quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. it put me at ease that you could smoke on the first week. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these stop taking chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix.
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hey hun, remember you only need a few sheets. hmph! [ female announcer ] charmin ultra soft is made with extra cushions that are soft and more absorbent. plus you can use four times less. charmin ultra soft. eye today we are expecting police to release new details on the man hunt for a suspected cop killer. meanwhile, a flight advisory for christopher dorner, saying he received flight training during his time in the u.s. navy. dorner is wanted for his killing spree in response to his dismissal from the lapd. john, let's get the latest. he's up somewhere in the mountains near big bear resort they think still? >> that's the last time they've seen him, the last trace of him, when his pickup truck was found on thursday. officials acknowledge they have found no new evidence of his whereabouts in their search, which does continue today.
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and they say there have been no new sightings. they say they have no new trace of him. we expect to hear in the next hour the mayors of los angeles, irvine, and riverside, the three communities impacted by this, they expect to announce the monetary reward for information leading to dorner's arrest. in the meantime, the chief of the lapd has now taken direct action about the issue that seemed to be at the center of dorner's anger. >> we value fairness. >> reporter: in an interview with a kcbs news anchor, lapd police chief charlie beck said he would reopen the case which led to christopher dorner's dismissal. a key grievance in his 11,000-word manifesto. >> i'm going to make a rigorous inspection to either validate or
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refute his claims, and we'll make that inspection public. >> reporter: beck said he wasn't trying to appease dorner. last week he was also asked about dorner's demand the lapd clear his name. >> it is not going to happen. >> reporter: meanwhile, nbc news has obtained surveillance camera video from a law enforcement source. it's from the morning after dorner's first alleged killings and appears to show him moving items from his pickup truck to two trash dumpsters. the source says they were an ammunition magazine, a gun belt, an lapd uniform shirt, and a helmet. an auto parts store manager found them and took them to the police station across the street. >> the helmet was sitting right up top, and the magazine and the belt was hidden under the boxes. >> reporter: one of the first victims was honored before cal state fullerton's women's basketball game. assistant coach monica quan was the daughter of a retired lapd captain who represented dorner
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at his police hearings. a warning was issued to pilots to look out for him because he may have had navy flight training. officials were determined to capture dorner before he can kill again. >> we're going to find him, make no mistake about that. but at this point, we don't want to let him know what we know. >> reporter: the search does continue at big bear lake in the san bernardino mountains today. only about 25 officers involved today. that's about a quarter of how many originally were involved in the search. as the search continues, the families of about 50 people named as targets in that manifesto continue under police protection. alex? >> i think one good thing is that this time of year at least it's not so populated up in the big bear area. so that might be able to help unless he finds an empty cabin. >> that is the challenge because a lot of those cabins are vacant right now. >> john yang, thank you so much. still ahead, a former capital insider who says he has
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answers for the fiscal crisis and involves their vacation time. to call my next of kin. at 33 years old, i was having a heart attack. now i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. i didn't know this could happen so young. take control, talk to your doctor. ♪ many hot dogs are within you. try pepto-bismol to-go, it's the power of pepto, but it fits in your pocket. now tell the world daniel...
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♪ welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." limited mass transit will resume in just about a half hour. nbc's ron mott is there for us. are things looking better overall today, ron? >> reporter: certainly prettier than they were yesterday. since we last talked to you, you mentioned the limited train service and bus service. that expected to start again at 2:00 tomorrow. the mbta says they will try to hold a normal schedule but are asking people to pack their patience because they know there will be delays. we've also learned that boston public schools are going to give the kids another day off tomorrow. some of these side streets have really not been touched all that much. they don't want to take the chances of having the big buses full of kids sliding around. the schools will be closed tomorrow. there will be community centers
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open for parents who need to take their kids somewhere if they need to go to work themselves. there's been talk of a rain/snow mix tomorrow. talk has been diminished, which is good news for us so we can get the heavy equipment coming in. still many people without power. national grid, which is one of the big providers in the northeast, hopes to have most, if not all of the people back online today into tomorrow. still people going into tuesday perhaps without power, but things are certainly looking up at this point sunday afternoon, just 24 hours after some of the snow stopped and finally settled into the ground, alex. >> we're going to end it on a positive note. that's all good to hear. thank you very much, ron. appreciate it. >> reporter: you bet. this just in, video of a roof collapse at a new york bowling alley. the heavy snow was apparently just too much for the roof of the amf smithtown lanes. local reports say the building was empty fortunately at the time. so no one was injured. the blizzard dumped 27 inches of snow in that town. go to for more on the storm. let's go to politics now,
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and fresh wrangling over what some suggest is an approaching fiscal doomsday. the so-called sequestration. when $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts will start taking effect that includes 500 billion there in discretionary spending cuts and $500 billion in spending cuts over the next 20 years. joining me, david walker, former u.s. controller general and founder and ceo of come back america. nice to be with you. >> good to be with you, alex. >> let's talk about an op ed you wrote in politico, which suggests congress should get no vacation breaks until it resolves all the fiscal questions. as it stands now, congress will be in session just 49.5% of the weekdays this year. you make a good point. can you explain all that. >> well, basically, congress is used to taking off a week for every federal holiday. they get a two-week spring break. they take a month off in august. needless to say, the typical american doesn't get that type of time off. we have a serious problem with
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regard to our nation's finances. we're going from crisis to crisis, it seems, every month. it's time for the president and the congress to work together to agree on a framework for a grand bargain. until they do, they shouldn't get these types of breaks. they should be working full-time. that doesn't mean that they can't go home on the weekends. it doesn't mean they can't go home for special events. but they should not be taking off a week for every holiday, two-week spring break, and a month in august until they get an agreement on a fiscal grand bargain. >> i'm going to ask our director jason to throw up part of what you said in this op ed. i guess the question is why has there not been greater popular anger about this? >> most americans don't know how little time they spend in washington, d.c. typically, they fly in on tuesday, fly out on thursday night. they're just not aware of it. it's not like they're not doing anything when they go back to their district, but i can tell you this, there's not enough
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engaging with the american people about the tough choices. i just came from a forum of national investment professionals from all over the country. 96% agreed on the six principles i've laid out for a grand bargain. 90-plus percent agreed on specific illustrious reforms as the need to put our finances in order. we need leadership from the president. we need leadership from the congressional leaders of both parties to defuse this ticking gut bomb. >> it seems like you need a bull horn. that's what i think, david. as we have the president tuesday proposing a plan that would delay sequester, while leading democrats suggest any aggressive deficit reduction would stagger the economy, here's president clinton the other day. let's listen to this. >> their problem can't be solved right now by conventional austerity measures. that's why paul krugman is right when he keeps talking about austerity in a time of no growth
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has wound up cutting revenues even more than they cut spending because you get into the downward spiral and drag the country back into recession. >> that's your former boss there, president clinton. talk about the risks of austerity. what is your take on that? >> the europeans have tried to do too much too fast on austerity, and we have done virtually nothing. the answer is somewhere in between. the president needs to focus on economy, jobs, fiscal responsibility, and intergenerational equity. the truth is we need more investments in the short term that are properly designed and effectively implemented coupled with a fiscal grand bargain. we need them both, and we need it soon because time is working against us. >> david walker, i want to thank you as always for weighing in. you're always the voice of reason. thank you so much. in office politics, my conversation with congressional medal of honor recipient colonel jack jacobs. we talked about that highly respected group and the friendships made. i asked how he feels about women
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fighting on the front lines of combat. first i asked him to share his thoughts on the developments in afghanistan. >> does the u.s. military feel it has won this war in afghanistan? >> in a word, yes. the troops always feel they've done what they were told to do, what they were asked to do, what was expected of them. that's at the lowest level of the food chain, where i was. but at the highest level of the food chain, the people who are having conversations inside the defense department and with the white house about what's supposed to be done, what's going to do, those people at the top of the food chain will tell you that they -- in an honest moment, they'll tell you they will not have accomplished the mission. we left iraq with things unresolved.
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we're leaving afghanistan, and things will be unresolved. >> but, jack, is that because the goals are impossible to attain? should we redefine what our missions are and keep it more succin succinct? >> you raised the quintessential fact about the use of the military instrument of power, and something that people at the top of the food chain do not address. and that is for any military exercise, indeed for anything we do in any human endeavor, the best thing to do is first articulate what it is you're trying to accomplish. i will offer to you a suggestion, what the objective is in afghanistan right now. to get out. if your objective is to get out, we can accomplish that very easily. >> when we leave, will we have made the united states safer? >> no, i don't think so because
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we will not have achieved what we said initially was our objective in afghanistan, and that's to destroy the taliban. >> so then should we not be leaving? >> we shouldn't be leaving if we want to accomplish an issue. we should be leaving if we're not willing to allocate the resources necessary in order to accomplish that mission. >> so back to my original question, when we leave, will we have won? >> if the objective is to destroy the taliban and make sure they don't come back, no, the answer is we will not have won. and people will tell you that. military people will tell you that right now. >> what are your thoughts about women in combat? these are a branch of the military. women have been on the front lines in various capacities, but officially now they can fight. >> you said it yourself. the way we fight now guarantees that women are going to be casualties. we have kept them out of combat
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units, but the larmg majority of casualties we've staepd is from rear echelon units, drivers and military police people and so on. those are the people who get blown up, or in the past have gotten blown up. the reality is in keeping women out of combat units, we've guaranteed they'll be blown up and guaranteed them as casualties in the conflict. >> this is quite an elite group. do you get together? if so, what are those gatherings like? >> we get together once a year, but really it's more than once a year. so we have a number of functions. we go to the inaugurals. we have a spectacular event at the new york stock exchange the third week of march, a grand affair. as a matter of fact, brian williams emcees. brian's on the board of the medal of honor foundation. and because he has to do "nightly news," i fill in as the
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emcee for the first -- >> until he gets there? >> he shows up and then makes fun of me for the whole rest of the evening, which brings down the house, of course. it's an opportunity for us to see each other. as time has gone by and we lose recipients every year, this is really, really important to us. >> is it true that you are about the only category of person, if you will, that the president of the united states salutes first? >> he doesn't salute us. general officers must salute. everybody must salute, but they're not saluting us. they're saluting the medal and what it represents. >> jack jacobs is a much loved person in these parts, and we all feel like saluting him when we see him. i want to thank him for his time. next weekend, my interview with best-selling author and bloomberg political columnist jonathan alter. next week the state of the union. [ sniffs ] i have a cold.
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the big three, the fiscal follies, the state of the union, and today's must read. let's bring in the panel. former bush-cheney senior adviser. jimmy williams is an msnbc contributor. and erin is a staff writer for i welcome all three of you. thanks for being here. >> happy sunday. >> robert, i'll begin with you. let's take a listen to majority leader eric cantor on nbc's "meet the press." here it is. >> every time you turn around, the answer it to raise taxes. he just got his tax hike on the wealthy, and you can't in this town every three months raise taxes. again, every time, that's his response. we've got a spending problem. everybody knows it. >> robert, president obama is not just calling for tax hikes. he said this weekend, he wants spending cuts, entitlement changes, tax reforms. so why all the rhetoric from the gop when the stakes are this high? >> look, this needs to be a comprehensive conversation, not
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just about tax cuts and revenue, but also about smart government. both sides are in their corners, and they're both obviously speaking to their choirs or speaking to their base. the question becomes, what are we going to do? since we have this conversation, it seems like, every three months, about sequestration, about the fiscal cliff and fiscal responsibility. what needs to happen is the president himself needs to lead here and bring all sides together to the table to have a substantive conversation about realistic tax reform that has tax breaks but also revenue cuts for the long haul. we're talking for the next 15 to 20 years here. >> jimmy, is it just me, or does it seem like we live in this perpetual state of fiscal crisis? there is always a deadline in which the whole economy collapses. it's president obama in the white house. does he share any blame? does it require more than just saying republicans won't compromise? >> i would suggest the entire city of washington, d.c., as a government is broken, i.e. for the nation, not for the district
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of columbia. congress keeps creating this drama over and over and over again. they have to -- if there is no deadline, congress can't get anything done. that's what's so frustrating about this. they keep kicking the can down the road. a three-month extension of sequester. in three weeks, sequester is going to p happen, or is it? are they going to kick the can down the road? we just don't know. i think you have to have leadership from both sides. the president needs to show leadership. so does speaker boehner and senate majority leader reid. i think the american people tuned out. they're so disgusted by it. and frankly most other people as well except for the press, i should say. >> i don't know. i get pretty frustrated. erin, i'm going to ask you. is this going to be a repeat of the fiscal cliff, the back and forth bickering until the last minute, and a deal that everyone knew was going to come along all along? is >> i love how they're surprised every time one of these deadlines they imposed comes up
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and they're shocked and scrambling like they didn't create this crisis. i would imagine they're going to kick the can down the road. what should happen is we should listen to paul krugman and see the fact that this lurching from crisis to crisis is strategic. they're trying to force austerity on the united states. the vast majority of the american people don't want that. it's time to sit back and say what kinds of constructive policies, as opposed to holding the economy hostage, are going to create jobs for the middle class. >> robert, the white house says the state of the union address is going to focus on the middle class and really will book end the theme of economic populism. economic populism won the election. how do republicans respond to that? >> well, populism is probably going to be dead on arrival. i think what the president needs to say on tuesday night is that, again, this is about fiscal responsibility, but also reasonable tax increases or revenue, if you will, and investing that in the right places, whether that's transportation, whether that's
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s.t.e.m., science, technology, education and management, or mathematics when it comes to education. when it comes to really reinvesting in the american middle class, i think that's what the american people want to hear from our president and i think that's what many republicans want to hear, is that this is not really about taxing the rich or whatever the case may be. it's about really reinvesting in the middle class, a la bill clinton and ronald reagan in the 1980s. >> does jimmy really give the fierce inaugural speech and not follow it up with major policy announcements? any chance of a surprise on tuesday? >> i think we have to look at what the budget's made up of. a third is discretion raleigh spending and two-thirds is non discretionary, i.e., social security, medicare, medicaid, et cetera, et cetera. so, if i were the president, and there are indications coming out of the white house that he is going to go down the path of reining in entitlements. democrats won't like it, republicans will cheer wildly in the big theater, but it doesn't mean he's not a liberal at the
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end of the day. obviously, he is. you heard the inaugural address. but his state of the union is a much more specific thing. he is there as a guest of the congress, frankly, and his job is to explain to them what he's going to propose and going to do in this next year of his presidency. and so, does he swing left? i mean, sometimes he's not so liberal on defense issues, but maybe so on social issues. i suspect he's going to go down that path and say that we need to have, as robert said, a balanced approach to this balancing the budget. >> irin, there could be an argument made that this is the strongest he's going to be coming off a re-election. o don't have to be worried about getting re-elected, you're not lame duck yet, but there is a lot on the president's desk right now. does he have the capital for a big idea? >> i think the president ran on a progressive agenda, the american people elected him on a progressive agenda, and not only is he in such a strong position,
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the democratic party, i can't think of a team in recent memory they've been more reunited. yes, there is some fiscal conservatism people from the right will have. that said, on guns, on immigration, gun safety, immigration reform, we're talking about a pathway to citizenship in our broken system. i expect we'll be hearing a lot about that, and those are issues in which political courage has been in very short supply. >> did you hear cater walling earlier by rand paul on tv? it's the:30 time i've heard it today! the big three with the must-reads, next. bunnies. when she's sad, she writes about goblins. [ balloon pops, goblin growling ] she wrote a lot about goblins after getting burned in the market. but she found someone to talk to and gained the confidence to start investing again. ♪ and that's what you call a storybook ending. it's not rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. ♪
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we're going to get to this fast. let's get to "the big 3" for the weekend's must-reads. robert, you're up first. >> quickly, "the washington post" is a great story on president obama, what he'll be talking about on tuesday. it's all about the economy. finally, he's going to be having a substantive conversation about the economy. >> jimmy, your turn. >> jonathan schat in this week's "new york" magazine has written a great article about how republican state legislators are trying to gerrymander the public, the popular vote back to
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the rural districts and take away the popular vote from an overwhelmingly democratic country. >> that's interesting. okay, irin, your must-read? >> this is a sunday afternoon read. relax, you'll be more productive, not that i'm actually putting it into practice. >> who does that? >> here we are working on a sunday afternoon. spend more time doing less. relax. it will make you a better employee. >> okay, well, good advice, then. robert, jimmy, irin, good to see you all. >> thanks. >> thank you so much. and you did that in perfect time because that is a wrap of "weekends with alex witt." up next, "meet the press" and craig melvin will have more news coming up at 3:00 p.m. eastern. have a great day, everyone. stay safe out there. our first full team gathering! i wanted to call on a few people. ashley, ashley marshall... here. since we're often all on the move, ashley suggested we use fedex office to hold packages for us. great job. [ applause ] thank you. and on a protocol note, i'd like to talk to tim hill about his tendency to use all caps in emails. [ shouting ] oh i'm sorry guys. ah sometimes the caps lock gets stuck on my keyboard.
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Weekends With Alex Witt
MSNBC February 10, 2013 9:00am-11:00am PST

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